Played Any Ads Today? The Power of Playable Ads

Debby Oguntuyi Noy
Creative Director
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Close your eyes. Imagine for one second that you’re on the train, riding out a 30 minute-plus commute to work. The only thing making that commute bearable is the awesome game you’re playing. Just as you finish level 1, an ad pops up. Are you happy? Sad? Annoyed? Want to throw something? Let’s say that in this particular instance you’re pleasantly surprised. Despite the fact that an ad popped up on your screen, weirdly enough you’re enjoying it. Why? Because that ad isn’t any normal ad, it’s a playable ad – a game.

You didn’t know anything about this game before, but now you know what it looks like, sounds like, feels like – and it’s fun. You like it, and you might just download it. Because you don’t want it to end. Maybe you download the game immediately. Maybe you continue the game you were playing before, but the new game has seared itself into your brain. You’re hooked, and you can’t stop thinking about it until you find yourself downloading it during your lunch break. And to think, all this was thanks to a playable ad.

What’s All the Hype About Playable Ads?

The truth is it’s getting harder and harder to engage users with standard ad formats. This is one of the reasons why other ad formats like audio ads are making a comeback, or why 2016 was declared as the year of video ads – two signs which point to the need for new formats. And one of the most exciting to come out recently has been playable and game-simulation ads.

Game-like ads are all the rage, and here’s why. Banner blindness is a real thing. But what if banners were fun?  An ad that doesn’t feel like an ad. An ad that you engage with, play with, that offers something new to users – and is actually welcomed by users. Why? Because you’re rewarding them for giving you and your brand the time of day. And they reward you with their attention and hopefully retention.

Want to play? Try it out below. 

playable ad(Play on mobile for the best experience.)

Among the companies that have embraced playable and similar ads, many have seen significantly improved retention rates amongst users. MNectar, one of the early adopters of playable ads has claimed that the ads are 4x more effective than other formats, including interstitials, and even video.

Playable Ads: Fun, Engaging & Effective

Naturally, playable and similar game-play ads have seen the most success with mobile games. They give an accurate taste, a free trial of the game you’re about to play in a no-download version.  So by the time the user finishes playing with the ad and taps to download, they’re ready to install and engage. And they’re much more likely to become a high-quality user – a win-win for you and the user.

This doesn’t mean that mobile ad formats aren’t effective. Take video ads for example. Video ads are often successful just for the fact that they show users what to expect from the game, and they certainly encourage them to download them. But playable ads one-up that experience by being interactive, reaching users on a deeper level – through sight, sound, and the actual feel of the game. A user that sees a video ad might love the video and think that they’ll equally love the game, but they won’t really know until they download it, and try the tutorial or start playing. With that approach, there’s always a chance they won’t enjoy it and become inactive much quicker. This is not a risk you face with playable ads.

Ready to Play?

The choice is yours. If you believe you have a game that players won’t be able to resist if only they had the opportunity to play it, you should strongly consider playable ads. Want to see some examples?

Check out a a game-simulation ad from Matomy’s mobile advertising agency, mtmy above. Just remember, once you’ve got the user hooked to your game with your ad, it’s up to you to keep them engaged with retention marketing that’s just as sophisticated as your playable acquisition strategy.

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One response to “Played Any Ads Today? The Power of Playable Ads”

  1. Great article Debby and I must say I totally agree with the points you mentioned. Moreover, I would add that Playable Ads are not only great for game publishers or app makers, but also any brand or simply any business.

    I am the CCO of Gamewheel and our expertise is on Playable Ads also so I would love to share my experience regarding the topic. What I see is brands are slowly moving towards “Mobile First” digital strategies and their mobile marketing efforts become more and more sophisticated indeed.

    Similar to the your Sweet World example, we had seen that our brands like Burger King or Paramount used our Playable Ads and they maximized the performance with emotional value of marketing campaigns. So Playable Ads definitely helps brands to grow faster through digital media. Thus, we believe Playable Ads are there to stay and especially with new exciting opportunities like AR/VR, Messenger, Bots and Instant Games – the amount of creativity which could be expressed with Playable ads and with help of gamification is limitless. Here is a little article we shared about Playable Ads on our blog:

    Moreover, for example in our case of Burger King, we managed to keep the retention of the app users high after installs with playable ads / gamified content inside of the app – delivering millions of brand minutes without additional media budget. This addresses the main point of many game and app publishers who have to pay millions of dollars to keep the engagement of paid downloads high.

    Also if you like please take a look at our stories in here: and share your thoughts with me, I’ll be glad.

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